Cool Tech Coming Soon!
Welcome back to the Chico car mechanic’s weekly guide to the cool, new, unique and unusual in the auto industry. Previously we talked about self-driving autonomous cars and how they’re potential to change the world is near, but not quite yet here. To read that article, click “Are Self-Driving Cars The Future of Transportation?“
But today we’re gonna talk about 3 upcoming technologies unrelated to autonomous driving that we think have tons of potential. They may seem like small things, but with a few tweaks and an evolution or two, we think they’ll eventually become standard issue in every vehicle on the road. So without further adieu, here are 3 technologies the auto industry is working on right now that might change the way you drive tomorrow.
Smart Visors with HUD
Ever had to wait at a red light with the sun glaring in your eye so bad that you can’t really see if the light’s changed? Smart visors fix this using translucent material that deflects sunlight without blocking your view, vastly improving visibility in all light conditions. But where’s the “smart” part come in, you ask?
Some smart visors will include LCD paneling with customizable heads-up display (HUD) elements that can be changed depending on a variety of conditions. Besides radio station, GPS, or weather, the visor could display critical engine information, speed and mileage, and other useful data that would make it much easier to monitor the status of your vehicle without taking your eyes off the road. Vehicles with LIDAR detectors could even warn on the visor if there’s a vehicle in your blind spot.
The business potential is vast too. Special interfaces can be programmed to transfer data between the visor and mobile devices, which could make it much easier to track something like mileage without forgetting. Instant messaging could send polite notifications, or even allow video chat if cameras are installed. We have no doubt that smart visors are likely to soon become a common feature in every new vehicle.
Airbag Emergency Braking System
Mercedes is developing an airbag system that can deploy from under the vehicle, potentially stopping a deadly crash with greater efficiency than a simple braking system. If not, it might still reduce the force of impact enough to protect the passengers inside.
A special coating is applied to the surface of the airbags in order to increase friction and stopping power. And by lifting the vehicle just a bit, it improves safety in a variety ways including preventing you from slipping out from under your seat belt. It’s amazing when simple features make such substantial improvements. It will be interesting to see what other ways airbags can be used to further improve vehicle safety; will there some day be side-panel airbags that deploy just before impact? Time and tech will tell.
Intelligently Adjusted Headlights
The recent explosion in the popularity of high-intensity LED headlights has made it much easier to drive at night, but they can be a nightmare for anyone facing them head-on. Intelligent headlights are promising in that they could potentially resolve the issue completely by blocking out portions of light that might blind other drivers, or automatically reduce brightness until they’ve passed and then increase it again.
Using increasingly affordable LIDAR technology, your car would sense other cars coming in the opposite direction and then disable a section of the light that’s pointing their way. Yet there’s so much more to intelligent headlights. They’re also capable of adjusting brightness and focus on the fly, without interrupting the driver. It’s possible well-programmed lights will be able to highlight the road or even oncoming hazards in such a way that it would make them much easier to see, and thus much easier to avoid. It might also look pretty cool, as if your car has pupils or something. And imagine the interesting display and color tricks that will be possible once hobbyists make them programmable. Or, just watch for yourself in this video from Audi:
What Auto Technologies Interest You?
There’s always a lot more fascinating car tech out there in the wild. Cool stuff that’s nearly ready for market, and even cooler stuff that won’t be ready any time soon (but that’s still available as proof-of-concept). The car techs at Tedious Repairs love this kind of stuff and we hope you do too! If you want to see more about the future of car and truck technology, let us know in the comments. Check in next week for more, and thanks for reading!